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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 95



One of these last came to the caliph, and begged him to emancipate him. " I have no power to do so," replied Omar. " But look you, if you choose to go of your own accord, I claim no right over a single hair of your head."* In the reign of the second 'Abbasside caliph, Abu Ja'afer Mansur (A.D. 755), a severe earthquake shook Jerusalem ; and the southern portion of the Haram es Sherif, standing as it did upon an artificially-raised platform, suffered most severely from the shock. In order to meet the expense of repairing the breaches thus made, the caliph ordered the gold and silver plates, with which the munificence of 'Abd el Melik had covered the doors of the Masjid, to be stripped off, converted into coin, and applied to the restoration of the edifice. The part restored was not, however, destined to last long ; for during the reign of El Mehdi, his son and successor, the mosque had again fallen into ruins, and was rebuilt by the caliph upon a different plan, the width being increased at the expense of the length. The foundation, by the Caliph Mansur, of the imperial city of Baghdad, upon the banks of the Tigris, and the removal of the government from Damascus thither, was very prejudicial to the interests of the Christian population of Syria, who were now treated with great harsh * The following extract from Reynolds's ' Temple of Jerusalem,' purporting to be a translation of this passage, will, I hope, excuse me from again quoting or referring to that valuable work:—"The Jews purveyed the furniture (necessaries) for the temple, but when Omar-Rudh-Ullah-anhu-ibn—Abdul Aziz—ascended the throne, he dismissed them, and placed therein some of the tribe of Khims (of Arabia Felix). And then came to him a man of the family of Khims, and said unto him, ' Give me some present.' But he said, Î How can I give thee ? for if thou shouldst strain thine eyes in staring, I have not a single one of thy dog's hairs (to give).' " And this astounding display of ignorance was " published under the auspices of the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland !"—Ε. H. P.


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